Similarities & Differences

In their 2001 book, Classroom Instruction that works, Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement, Marzano, Pickering and Pollock discuss nine strategies that have “a high probability of enhancing student achievement for all students in all subject areas at all grade levels.” The top strategy turns out to be identifying similarities and differences.

The authors present research suggesting that identifying similarities and differences “might be considered the ‘core’ of all learning.” Talk about a powerful statement! From the research they derive four conclusions (pages 15-16) about improving student facility with learning as a result of identifying similarities and differences:

• Providing students with teacher-directed organizational structure helps students hone in on specific attributes.
• Having students supply their own organizational structure allows them to bring their prior knowledge and individualized thought patterns to the material.
• Making use of graphic organizers or other symbolic formats “stimulates and increases activity in the brain.” (page 73)
• There are four formats for identifying similarities and differences: Comparing, Classifying, Creating metaphors, and Creating analogies.

sm-organization.pngThis next activity invites faculty to Classify the ten text blocks and two songs. With the SMART Board you can simply use your fingers to move items around on the screen. Here’s my classification system. What is yours? Click to see a full size version of my classification system.

This is the eighth of about twenty or fewer posts and for further information about this series, please read Closings and Openings. As you follow the development of this activity, please feel free to chime in with suggestions or questions.

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